Hal Luscombe had a field day as Wales U 21 ran riot at the Brewery Field,
Bridgend, this afternoon, piling up 10 tries on their way to a commanding
second victory of the campaign.
The South African-born Newport centre completed his try hat-trick two
minutes from the end as Wales bounced back from their defeat by France to
add the Italian scalp to that of the Irish.
Cardiff fly half Nicky Robinson got the scoreboard moving with a penalty
goal in the third minute before Wales started doing serious damage with the
ball in hand.
Captain Matthew Brayley, the Swansea centre, was the creator for the first,
scored by Llanelli flanker Gareth Williams, before Luscombe started getting in
on the act.
He started and finished a move that swept half the length of the pitch and by
the 20th minute Wales got their third try when Ebbw Vale flanker Rhys Williams
forced his way over the line from a line-out.
The Italian defence held firm for another 14 minutes - but then presented
Wales with a gift-wrapped score.
Full back Andrea Masi dealt with a long kick downfield well enough and even
made valuable ground running the ball back at Wales.
But when he attempted an ambitious long pass, he only succeeded in finding
UWIC No 8 Rhys Jones who galloped 55 metres for try No 4.
The Italian defence was opened up again just before the break, a long pass
from Robinson creating a three-man overlap, Luscombe ignoring the advantage to
go over for his second and Wales' fifth.
Rhys Jones and Rhys Williams both got second tries from close range soon
after the break before Gareth Swales made the running for Neath prop Adam
Jones to score and then Aled Gravelle (Llanelli), with his first touch as a
back row replacement, got the ninth.
Italy, who had Michael Rizzo and Andrea Frassenello yellow carded in the second
half, still managed to notch up their first try of the tournament, the honour
going to flanker Claudio Mannato.
Luscombe still had time for his hat-trick - but Italy had the last word
with Gonzalo Canale crossing for their second try in the dying seconds.
Wales: Tries - H Luscombe 3, R Williams 2, R Jones 2, G Williams, A Jones,
A Gravelle; Cons - N Robinson 6; Pen - N Robinson
Italy: Tries - C Mannato, G Canale; Con - V Zullo
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.